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Lakers Hire Kurt Rambis and Johnny Davis as Assistant Coaches

The Los Angeles Lakers and Mitch Kupchak announced today the hiring of former Laker, Kurt Rambis, and Johnny Davis as assistant coaches for the upcoming season.

In a statement released by the team on Monday, head coach Mike D’Antoni expressed the following sentiments regarding the newest additions to his staff:

“Kurt is a great basketball mind, extremely good at working with big men and his experience as a head coach in this league is going to prove very helpful to our staff”

Of Johnny Davis, D’Antoni had the following to say:

“Johnny is a two-time NBA head coach with years of experience playing as well as coaching in this league. The vast array of NBA knowledge he brings to the table will be invaluable to us.”

As is the norm nowadays, Kurt Rambis took to his Twitter account to share his most recent employment by tweeting the following:

The hiring of a former Phil Jackson assistant coach once again brings to the forefront the adequacy of Mike D’Antoni as the right candidate to lead the prestigious franchise.

Coming off one of the most embarrassing and injury-plagued seasons in Lakers history, the Lakers brass (specifically  owner Jim Buss) had been harshly criticized for passing up on the Zen Master and instead opting for D’Antoni.  The latter failed to capitalize on the type of talent that composed the roster during Dwight Howard’s stint as a Laker.

The recent hire could be seen either as move to fill in the holes that D’Antoni’s system creates by refusing to adjust or as the foundation to possibly replace him in the future.  In any event, after having lost Dwight Howard and with even less talent on the roster for 2013-2014, D’Antoni remains on the hot seat.

Houston Rockets Sign Marcus Camby

Apparently Dwight Howard and Omer Asik aren’t enough for the Houston Rockets.

As ESPN reports, Houston has agreed to a one year, veteran minimum contract with Marcus Camby:

“Marcus is extremely excited to be coming back to the Rockets,” Camby’s agent, Rick Kaplan, said in a text message to Houston’s KRIV-TV, a Fox affiliate. “He believes he can add vetreran leadership to a potent young core that can compete for the NBA title. It is a great opportunity for him and huge plus for the Rockets.”

 Temp: MV6FYQSPZD7M

Grant Hill Retires From the NBA

After 19 years in the league, one of its most iconic stars is hanging up the laces and officially retiring.

Grant Hill officially announced his retirement over the weekend, before game six of the Eastern Conference Finals.

I’m glad to say I’m done.  I’m officially retired, moving on from playing. I had a great run.

I’m announcing it now. … I’ve been hinting at it the last few years. You get to a point where you just don’t want to do it anymore but I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve loved it.

Grant Hill

If you grew up in the 90s, or if you were already grown up but still appreciated decent marketing ploys that stuck to you like gum unto shoes, you will forever associate one of the classiest ballers with the unforgettable line: Grant Hill drinks Sprite! 

We appreciate Grant Hill as much for that commercial gem as we do for his on-the-court skills, which at the early stages of his career seemed unstoppable (probably because he drank Sprite).

Although injuries played an unfortunate role in his career, nobody doubts the gamesmanship and the all-around talent that Grant Hill brought to the table.

We’ll miss seeing you on the court, Grant.  I will, however, continue to promote Sprite because of you.

Kobe Bryant Vows Not to Tweet During Games

Even the great Kobe Bryant cannot escape the unintended consequences of social media use.

During game one of the Lakers vs. Spurs playoff series, Kobe Bryant took to Twitter to provide running commentary as he recuperated at home from an achilles heel tear that sidelined him toward the end of the regular season.

Bryant’s celebrity quickly took over Twitter when the Lakers guard embraced it this season.  The legendary basketball star provided candid looks into his life off the court via #mambatweets:  a combination of seemingly genuine commentary that came across as humanizing and unfiltered and exclusive photos that trumped NBA writer access into one of the game’s biggest stars ever.

Whether it was a calculated risk, or an unintentional episode of having fallen in love with the freedom of expression, Kobe provided fans and media alike with a brand new experience when he took to Twitter to give insights into a Lakers game in real time.

The shift in tweeting direction came after the media focused on the potentially undermining effect of Kobe’s tweets during Mike D’Antoni’s press conference.  An assessment that wasn’t altogether wrong given the sensitive nature of traditional employee-manager relations that we all must often deal with.

The slew of tweets began with “arm-chair” coaching in the first half:

An interesting piece of coaching given Bryant’s propensity for opting for his own shot instead of dishing it into the bigs.

Kobe went on to reiterate his point by voicing something many of us have been yelling at our TVs many-a-times when Kobe isolates himself near the half-court line:

Kobe followed with a gem that went highly unnoticed/unused on Twitter: #milkpau:

By game’s end, and after the Spurs had dominated the Lakers, Mike D’Antoni was placed in an unfortunate situation of not being able to criticize Kobe Bryant for sideline coaching, while at the same time maintaining some level of dignity.

D’Antoni chose his words unwisely and tried to downplay the meaning of Kobe’s tweets, while in the process taking a swipe at Kobe’s commentary:

It’s great to have that commentary” D’Antoni said, rolling his eyes. “He’s a fan right now. He’s a fan. You guys put a little bit more importance on that kind of fan. He’s a fan, he gets excited, I’m sure he wants to be part of it.”

Reducing one of the greatest basketball players of all time to “just a fan”, especially after said player injured himself in the process of carrying your team, is nothing close of blasphemy in Los Angeles.  The mamba, of course, hears everything and responded with the following:

To make matters worse, Phil Jackson, who also recently joined Twitter, chimed in.

In response to Kobe feeling helpless while his team goes down:

The situation highlighted one of the greatest things about the current state of sports and social media:  the immediate access to a mass communication medium like Twitter, along with the massive fan-bases who are constantly connected to their favorite team or athlete, creates a dynamic ecosystem where any misjudgment in the severity of a tweet will have rapidly expanding consequences.

Social media has become a magical medium for access, networking and discovery.  It has also been responsible for transparently outing people’s biases, prejudices and extremisms, which at times have resulted in the very real consequences of people losing their jobs or having to resign.

While most of us fans will lament the loss of Kobe Bryant’s live game tweeting, we must accept that such restraint is probably the best thing for the team itself.  Not only did Kobe do damage to the image of D’Antoni’s coaching ability, he also put himself in the spotlight for better or worse.

There’s a time and place for social media and even five championship rings won’t save you from the consequences should you choose to use it unwisely.

Brazil Government Worried About Potential Gentrification of World Cup Stadiums

The growing popularity of fútbol as a business has the Brazilian government, hosts of the upcoming 2014 World Cup, worried about the potential of average fans in Brazil being priced out of their own stadiums.

The dilemma is one that continues to make its presence felt as the ever-growing success of sport, not just in soccer, commandeered by businessmen and investors, inevitably is turned into a profit machine without a genuine concern for the spirit of what makes sports beautiful.

Brazil 2014 World Cup Logo“Some stadium administrators are quite explicit in saying that, to be economically feasible, they would have to shift the type of attendance at games,” he added.

“It would change from one where what predominates is the so-called D and E class, to one where there will be a heavy predominance of what they call class A and B spectators who will not only buy the tickets but will also consume in the stadium.

“But if you want to shift the social origin of the spectators so you can have people that can afford to buy other merchandise and food besides tickets, that could be a negative side effect.”

Read more at:  Reuters

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